Now playing:
news /

DURAN DURAN – All You Need Is Now: New album

Dimitris Katsourinis attempts a first approach to the new songs by Duran Duran.
Read times


Dimitris Katsourinis attempts a first approach to the new songs by Duran Duran.

DURAN DURAN - All You Need Is Now

After the fiasco of the ambitious "Red Carpet Massacre" (2007), their next step would be decisive. But, if anything, Duran Duran  have proved to be stubborn. Historically, after a particularly difficult period, they usually manage to come back stronger. That was what happened in 1993 with "Wedding Album", and in 2003-2004 with the reunion and "Astronaut". It appears that the same will apply this year with "All You Need Is Now" ...

... In 2008, Duran Duran first met with Mark Ronson. The latter said he's an avid fan of the group and was willing to entirely take over production of their next record project. The goal was clear ... the band had to go back in time and draw inspiration from the best moments of their career - the first two albums "Duran Duran" and "Rio", released in 1981 and 1982, respectively. By the way, I confess that I value Ronson particularly on his instinct. He is also fond of music history, to the point of trying to revive it in all its detail. So far, he manages to transfer parts of it in today and has not developed into a bohemian old-fashioned, out of touch with reality - not that that is necessarily bad. In the collaboration we're interested in now, the constant desire of the members of Duran, to look forward and not backward, acted as a catalyst . This conflict of past and present, this resultant of trends, creative mood and desire, led ultimately to "All You Need Is Now".

So nine new songs by Duran Duran are now available exclusively through iTunes, under the general designation "All You Need Is Now" . The same title, concrete version of the album (the cd that is) that will contain at least four more is expected in late February - at the moment, no official date has been announced. For now let's turn to what we already have in our hands...

1. All You Need Is Now
The title song is the first single that stands out. I like the contrast...jammy, fresh and sharp verses, changing consecutively styles with a sweet, classic Duran refrain, type "New Moon On Monday". It is about relaying the current position of the band. Three decades with a succession of ups and downs... but they're back and invite us to follow them again.

2. Blame the Machines
The lyrics are inspired by the true story of a German who, faithfully following the instructions of the car's navigation system found himself on the wrong side of the autobahn, with ,unfortunately, tragic results. Criticizes the fact that now, basic functions of our (thoughts and feelings) are at the mercy of the machines. Musically it reminds me more of Devo, while ITV's television news announcer Nina Hossain, does a great job, playing the female voice of the gps that with undeniable rigor commands "...you are not required to think at all...". Listen to it, while reading the witty recent novel by Jonathan Koou "The Private Life of Maxwell Sim". You will find similar concerns and scenes...

DURANDURAN-AllYouNeedIsNow 3. Being Followed
Its topic focuses on the many cameras are installed on the streets of London, following every step of its residents. Starting as a descendant of "Atomic" Blondie and ends in a large, impulsive, full of vanity refrain, one of those they hadn't given us in some time. From the middle and on, it takes off. Le Bon as a crooner in despair, sings "... I'm calling out ..." amongst a sea of guitars, strings, whistles with western style invested with Morricone and...Arctic Monkeys outbursts.

4. Leave a Light On
Private and brittle. Warm melodies and lyrics down to earth for someone with a lack of guidance urgently seeking a helping hand. The combination of keyboards with acoustic guitar works, while the bridge of the song, simply captivates.

5. Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)
Here we take a short walk in New York...John Taylor plays an irresistible bass line, the late Bernard Edwards of Chic will smile approvingly from there he is. The groove refers to 80's disco classics like "Do It To The Music" of Raw Silk. Icing on the cake, the participation of Ana Matronic (of Scissor Sisters), and that ultimately steals the show, with guest vocal like Debbie Harry "Rapture" style and Madonna "Vogue" era. Against the flow of music and lively atmosphere, the words convey a mood of introspection ("... vain, how I played my hand, one more reckless man in the rough ...").

6. Girl Panic
It could have sprung from the "Seven & The Ragged Tiger" in 1983 . Also, it would be just fitting if it had been included in the last album by Rapture. The rhythm section is to the fore. Roger Taylor played drums and percussion, creating solid substrate and John Taylor drops anchor with a solid slap bass playing. The almost italo synths by Nick Rhodes shine (especially at the end), carrying Le Bon to a blissful, episodic refrain.

DURANDURAN-AllYouNeedIsNow 7. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
Perhaps the most precious jewel of the album. A dark masterpiece 6-minute in duration, a morbid tale of passion and persistence. Le Bon develops an enigmatic dialogue with Kelis participating, keyboards subside as time passes, handing the baton to the strings by Owen Pallett. The song was originally coated with sonic fabric by the legendary "The Chauffeur", to evolve into something different and pretty eccentric. It expresses I think, more than any other, the timeless vision of Nick Rhodes and his Japan, Roxy Music fantasies.

8. Runway Runaway
From those romantic and uplifting, dreamy, up tempo songs that marred Rio and the hearts of many... somewhere between the "Last Chance On The Stairway" and "Lonely In Your Nightmare". The only difference is that 28 years later, Le Bon prefers to sing with tenderness, addressing his daughters.

9. Before The Rain
Circular strings, military drums and sounds of keyboards breeding a succession of melodic lines. Le Bon's performance can make you feel uncomfortable with lyrics like "...in every life flash, in every car crash, I hear the silence waiting to fall...". Historically his word had lyrical qualities, the public often tends to ignore it. The great Beatles' school, is present as an inspiration, in the conception of the song.

Mediterranea ** - Bonus
** This song is not on the digital version of the album already released. It will be normally included in the cd in February. It is in the ep titled "From Mediterranea With Love" available (also) through iTunes.


The bass by John Taylor directs the melody in a ballad - wet dream for the fans of the band. Amazing vocal harmonies and subtle - working guitar trigger a mental journey from the gray of winter cities, to the blue summer waters of the Mediterranean. There's the expectation and the need for escape, mixed with sensuality, innocence and melancholy.

With the release of "All You Need Is Now" Duran Duran celebrate 30 years of continuous record presence. It is fortunate then that this anniversary finds them in excellent form. The album is full of strong compositions, great vocals, filling playing. I do not know if it's their best since "Rio" as stated by many, it is too early for such conclusions. I am convinced that anyone that has, even occasionally, listened to their music, will find many reasons to be charmed.

For all the rest, wondering whether a new Duran Duran album in 2011 should matter to them, the answer is simple... as much as it pleases them to listen to an exemplary pop album. One album that is, above all, accessible, but will never give you chewed food - light and optimistic, with small dark pitfalls artfully placed - attractively simple, but never naive - dancing - emotional and in key points delightfully intelligent.

The biggest challenge, however, that Duran actually win over with this album is that they manage to be inspired by their good old selves while sounding more modern than ever.

  Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now - Official Video

Read more